Toolkit for engaging Under-screened and Never-screened women in the National Cervical Screening Program
Under the renewed NCSP, cervical screening is recommended for all women aged 25 to 74 who have ever been sexually active, HPV vaccinated or unvaccinated. Women will be invited by the National Cancer Screening Program to screen every five years. Woman already participating in the Program will have their first Cervical Screening Test two years after their last Pap test.
Under-screened women are those who are overdue for cervical screening by at least two years. During the early years of transition to the renewed NCSP, this will mean greater than four years since a woman’s last conventional Pap test or greater than seven years since her last Cervical Screening Test.
Encouraging under-screened and never-screened women to participate in cervical screening is an important task for healthcare providers, as these women are most at risk of cervical cancer.
There are specific sub-population groups in Australia who are less likely to engage in cervical screening. These include, but are not limited to, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, women with disabilities, women who experience socio-economic disadvantage and women who have experienced sexual assault.
It is important to remember that these sub-groups are not homogenous, and each woman’s individual circumstances will influence her participation in cervical screening.